Daddy's Shaving Habits

October 13, 2011

There's no question there's something sexy about a guy standing at the sink, shaving his beard, naked but for a towel. It's classic Daddy imagery, and many of us associate it with our fathers, our first connection with our manly heritage -- and maybe the first visible sign of becoming a man. The memories I have of my father shaving are really vivid, though there's nothing sexual about them. What I see is my dad with little torn pieces of toilet paper stuck randomly on his neck, each covering a razor nick that would not stop bleeding otherwise. Although I'm grateful for many of the things I inherited from my dad, my easily-irritated neck isn't one of them.

I grew my first beard in high school to avoid shaving as much of my face as possible. But as I've gotten older, I've gravitated more towards a mustache, which appears to be a really good look for me, judging by its popularity with the Hunters. (I don't know which bother's my mom more: the mustache itself, or her relative lack of influence in trying to get me to shave it off.) But sporting a mustache means even more of a shaving challenge. Fortunately, shaving technology has dramatically improved since the two-bladed days of my youth. The 5-bladed razor I use now shaves super smoothly, causing only the rarest nick. And the old-timey barbershop scent of my Proraso shave cream brings an idealized masculine aspect to my shaving ritual. Finished off with a high-tech aftershave serum that cools and calms my skin, I enjoy shaving these days -- especially when I'm standing at a locker room sink, wearing just a towel ;-)

Please share your shaving stories in the comments below. And read about buying my favorite shave cream and aftershave on

Tags: grooming, facial har, shave
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Post written by Billy Kolber (View Author Profile)
About this author: Billy Kolber is a writer, consultant and entrepreneur, living and loving in New York City. Billy blogs about Shopping, Sex, Food and Travel at
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I liked the bit about your mother. Toward the end of my mother's life, when my facial hair had already turned mostly white, she told me that I had to shave all facial hair when I visited for my father's birthday. I asked why, since she had always said she loved my beard and moustache. She said that didn't want any of her friends to think that SHE was old enough to have a SON old enough to have a white beard. Since all of her friends already knew me with facial hair, I kept the beard and moustache for that visit.

As for my dad and shaving, I not only have memories of watching him shave, but I also have memories of him teaching me how to shave when the time came. He taught me to prepare my face for the shave using a washcloth and very hot water. He taught me about only shaving in one direction with a new blade, and about using my other hand to stretch the skin taut before running a razor over it. These memories are so strongly associated with him that I often think of him when I shave. It's one of my best memories of my dad.

How lucky you are to have such wonderful memories of your parents. You are truely blessed.

Beards and hair make for different interesting textures and add to the sense of acceptance at clubs and social venues where that is an unspoken pre-requisite for being one of the guys. That bases things on appearance which can account for a group behavior but still leave you wondering what what they are like when the group is not in session and tossing footballs or telling one liners that everyone can butt heads about. It can be like trying to figure out an actor based on his character in a sports movie. Theres always been guys with less hair even as they used to be off in the shadows due to dominant peer pressure along with those physically challenged members of family that used to be considered an embarrassement long ago and therefore kept at home or even in a basement away from the public view. It's nice that the less dominant folks can come out thanks to a better balance of things where muscle power can't run over the less sports oriented folks who sometimes put community stuff higher on the list than the local sports franchise. A beard certainly is great on Santa Clause on the holiday for when hunters sit on his knee. Hope he has the naughty list.

mi madre me dice que al dejarme la barba sin afeitar parezco un desechable
aun que no tengo una figura paterna de la cual haber aprendido como se debe afeitar es mejor después de darse una ducha cuando el vello facial esta húmedo usar una crema o gel de afeitar y después un bálsamo

shaving is a sin :))) ... daddy needs his facial hair :))))

I wish my pops was around to show me...

I seem to be shaver challenged. Have tried the 4+ blade handheld blades and they are great on the neck but do a crappy job on the space between lips and nose and I don't like the way they do sideburns ,either. Electrics are challenging on my neck and again don't like the way they do sideburns. Has anybody found a razor that works good and is comfortable and percise - and not overly expensive?! I shave in the shower. Thanks for any suggestions.

Hey Stan... I hear you on the trimming issue with the 4+ bladed razors. My current choice, the Schick Hydro 5 allows you to pull back the blade housing to allow for more precise trimming, but it's still not perfect. The Schick Quattro is probably a better option for you -- it has a single blade on the reverse side of the cartridge that you can use for trimming. I stock up on blades when they go on sale at RiteAid.

thanks for the great suggestions. Wanta come shower and shave with me sometime?! lol

I developed all sorts of body hair by the time I was 15-16 but I didn't start growing any kind of noticeable facial stubble until I was 19. even then, I got away with shaving maybe every 3rd or 4th day until I finally needed to shave daily when I was about 22 or 23.

So my late teens were a period of serious heartache, as I watched all my friends "man up" while I remained baby-cheeked.

My dad wasn't the kind of man to pass on skills such as shaving and so I picked up only what I saw others do, and made a right mess of it. After all those years dreaming of needing to shave, when it finally happened I wished I could turn back time and not need to again, that's how much I hated it.

My stubble is still not very thick (both in the sense of individual hairs and of their density), especially around the sideburns area, so I look a bit stupid with a beard but I think I can get away with maintaining 3 days' stubble. Thankfully, my job/lifestyle for the last decade or so have been such that I don't need to be groomed all the time and so once a week I go over my stubble with hair clippers which keeps keeps me at what I think are optimal levels.

When I REALLY need to look presentable, I reluctantly shave clean with a 5-blade Gilette wet razor - usually without nicking myself, which never fails to surprise me!

I get a very mixed reaction from guys but generally I feel more confident with stubble, and leave you all to draw your own conclusions form the pics i have on here ;)

I was lucky enough to be an early developer; I started shaving just before my 13th birthday. I thought it was cool, to be honest. At the time I only had fuzz on my chin and upper lip and bit at the sideburns. However, my hair was very dark when I was a kid and a young man, like 1/4 shade lighter than black, and my skin is very fair, so I thought the fuzz made me look scruffy, which I did not like. I thought of myself as a very spiffy dresser and put together kid at the time.

This was in the '80s when very few men wore facial hair. In fact, I cannot recall ever seeing my dad or uncles with anything but long sideburns in the '70s when I was small. When I started I used a Bic razor and soap! Luckily it was only a few times a week then and my skin could take that. However, on my 14th birthday, my dad took me out and bought me a Norelco electric shaver. I felt quite grown up and proud to be with my dad, as it was just the 2 of us. He said that I was going to have a heavy beard, and a dark one, & I would have to shave daily once I began working, so I should start getting into the habit of shaving regularly. So he recommended an electric, like he used, so my skin would have less irritation and fewer cuts.

I will say that the first few times with the electric, I did not have great results, but once I learned that the secret was to have clean, dry skin, I started washing my face, then using an electric shave prepartion to dry the whiskers and make them stand up. At around 14 I was already shaving every other day and could shave daily by the time I was in high school.

I very much associate shaving with masculinity, with traditional, solid, guys like my dad; he shaved every morning when I was growing up and still does. I can see him standing there in front of the bathroom mirror wearing only his boxers with that shaver buzzing away.

To me shaving is a very manly act. I will always prefer a neat goatee or stache over a wild beard. I especially like the contrast of a neat face, even a cleanshaven one, with a naturally hairy body. I once dated a rather buttoned down lawyer for a while. He wore Brooks Brothers suits, had a short haircut, and was always clean shaven. But when the suit came off, he was basically an ape: so coarsely hairy everywhere that my skin would be rubbed red after sex. That was very, very sexy. I guess I don't go for the all out bear look. To each his own!

Trouble shaving with four and five blade razors? More isn't always better. Some of the inexpensive two or three blade disposable jobbbies do a great job.
Half the trouble with the 4/5 blade razors is the wide heads, designed purely for the way they look, like it's got to be a high tech Transformer or something.
Track down a Gilette Sensor (eBay). The Sensor Excell blades are still easily available in lots on eBay. Great control, weight, shave.

thanks for your suggestion. Rock on.

really nice column, Billy...appreciated the memoir of your Dad...

SO glad to note your defiance of your Mom in keeping the moustache....she's an amazing woman, but you have to stand up to her!

all best to you....


(you can lose the towel!)

Great blog ... but hey the modern way is without the towel, the day of prudishness is over

I don't see what the interest in a safety razor is. I have always used an electric razor, and so did my dad (well maybe not in his younger years, I doubt they had electric razors in the early 1900s).

I never saw my father shaving but an older cousin and an uncle (unrelated) shaving were sights I looked forward to as a pre-teen. It was around the age of 15 that I started. We didn't yet have the double edge, let alone the 3 or 5-blade units.

In a ways I am fortunate that, even to this day, mine comes in with such a lack of color that I can skip a day and not look scruffy. This also explains why I am so attracted to dark haired men who grow thick beards and always have a 5-O'clock shadow (I'm talking about you, Zachary Quinto)!

Depends on what your shaving

My dad taught me the fundimentals of shaving. I did, however, learn to shave without shaving cream as a teen. Shaving cream had a tendency to hide the few zits I got and I would inevitably get a nasty cut from shaving the top off. My fondest memories of watching him shave after his shower was he didn't usually wear a towel. Pervert that I was I watched his crotch and on ocasions he would get hard. I think he knew I was gay long before I did.

i think men shouldnt shave, it makes them look idk, i guess its a cultural thing for me, may trim is fine but shaving it all is not attractive

I like men with beards, although there are handsome exceptions <grin>.

If you want to trim your beard and need a good shaver with THREE blades but don't want to mortgage your house for those fancy shavers, try SUPER MAX, available in some large dollar store chains (like Dollar Tree) or on eBay. A whole pack for one dollar. Now that's what I call a deal.

If you're looking for a bright, caring, and bearded man (oh, I forgot, and very modest, too! <grin>), check out my profile.

Happy shaving, if you must. If you haven't had a beard, try it.

I like men with beards, although there are handsome exceptions <grin>.

If you want to trim your beard and need a good shaver with THREE blades but don't want to mortgage your house for those fancy shavers, try SUPER MAX, available in some large dollar store chains (like Dollar Tree) or on eBay. A whole pack for one dollar. Now that's what I call a deal.

If you're looking for a bright, caring, and bearded man (oh, I forgot, and very modest, too! <grin>), check out my profile.

Happy shaving, if you must. If you haven't had a beard, try it.

My first shaving lesson was in 1992 at the age of 13. Though they were very few and far between as between then and right up to the age of 25/26 i was able to grow up to the equivalent of some goatee stubble at the most. My dad was always bery impatient also because I always remember using the razor strokes in the wrong direction all of the time, no matter how mny times we both stood in front of the mirror telling me to keep my head still and concentrate on watching the correct way of doing so. He was very much a complete opposite of me very tall, broad, muscled rugged and hairy, though facially very similar. Gillette now have their Fusion power razor/blades out, the Gillette disposables are basically the ones ive grown up with since i began shaving back in the mid 90's with their sensor excel one If I remember rightly